It's a been a good start to the warmer seasons out on the water, but local organsisations say there are still safety messages everyone needs to keep in mind.
Daniel Rapson, Bay of Plenty Regional Council acting harbourmaster, said it had been a fairly typical start to the spring season.
"The weather is very variable at this time of year, with some very strong winds over the last few weeks, including during the school holiday period.
"With Covid-19 preventing overseas travel, we are expecting a busy summer, with more Kiwis choosing to holiday locally."
Rapson said over Labour weekend, the main message to boaties was to take care before heading out - "Prep, Check, Know".
He said with lockdown followed by winter it had been a long time since many had used their boats, so they were asking people to take their time getting ready, prep their boat, check their gear, and know the rules before going out on the water.
He said to help with identification, or knowing who they may be looking for in an emergency, powered vessels over 4m and non-powered vessels over 6m are required to be clearly marked with a name or number.
All jetski and other personal watercraft using Bay of Plenty waterways need to be registered.
This rule came into effect in July 2017. With an anticipated higher number of vessels on the water this year, unnamed vessels and unregistered personal watercraft will be issued $200 infringements if stopped by patrol vessels, he said.
Rapson said this summer he was looking forward to getting out and seeing lots of visitors and locals enjoying the region's harbours and lakes while at work, and particularly getting out on his own boat with his wife and kids.
Tauranga Coastguard president Simon Barker said they were gearing up for a busy summer.
He said they had been busier over the past three months but had had no issues - "We always have callouts for standard breakdowns, but nothing untoward".
Barker said the biggest help for them was if people filed trip reports and let Coastguard know if they were changing location.
Regional water safety strategy manager Dave White said they had seen an increase in people swimming without wetsuits in the recent school holidays – a sign that summer was just around the corner.
"It's been a tough year for everyone and we're expecting to see higher numbers of people at the beach and on the water this season.
"With the closed borders restricting Kiwis from international travel, people will be looking to head to local holiday hotspots.
"We've already seen an influx of Airbnb and bach bookings and with recreational watercraft becoming more affordable, we're likely to see an increase in purchases heading into summer given that Kiwis can't spend their money overseas."
He said the Surf Lifesaving NZ Coastal Drowning Report identified that coastal drownings were increasing in New Zealand.
Water Safety Bay of Plenty and the wider water safety sector are urging people to be safe this season, and swim between the flags.
"Boaties are also urged to check their vessel and fuel, and we recommend that all skippers become members of Coastguard and complete Coastguard Boating Education's Day Skipper course.
"We also encourage the community to get active during Water Safety Month – there's many events happening around the bay, hosted by local providers, that are all teaching essential water safety skills in a fun way."
To find out more, go to watersafetybop.co.nz.
Fishing season gets off to a great start
There was celebration among anglers at the start of this month as the fishing season opened.
Department of Conservation Rotorua community supervisor Caraline Abbott said DoC had seen lots of visitors having a safe and enjoyable time on the lake.
"The boat ramps were busy around October 1, with many people travelling to Rotorua as part of an annual tradition to celebrate the opening of the fishing season.
"With a few small exceptions visitors have been respectful by camping in appropriate places, not lighting fires, removing litter and respecting the environment. People were having a lot of fun."
Abbott said an interagency approach between DoC, Te Arawa Lakes Trust, Bay of Plenty Regional Council and Fish & Game meant key messages regarding appropriate behaviour were wide-reaching and visitors were aware of the rules before they set out on the water.
"As we head into summer the need to check, clean, dry between waterways remains vitally important to protect the waterways from invasive pests such as didymo and koi carp."
Abbott urged people to help stop the spread of catfish and other pests between lakes by checking boats and fishing gear for weeds and fish eggs, and thoroughly cleaning equipment.
She said people needed to plan for their trip - camp in designated places, don't light fires, remove litter and toilet appropriately.
"If you're taking a dog, make sure dogs are permitted and keep it under control. Uncontrolled dogs are a risk to native birds and other visitors."